Choosing books for 2nd graders can be difficult. They are just beginning to explore books and most of them haven’t yet decided on the types of books they enjoy reading the most.
Also, at this age children’s reading ability can vary greatly. So, one book that is suitable for one child could be too difficult or not challenging enough for others.
Getting it right can be a hard task. We have therefore put together a list of the 15 best books for 2nd graders (ages 7-8) 2020. The list includes a range of books for different reading abilities and preferences within the age range of 2nd grade.
1. The Bad Guys Series
Mr. Wolf, Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake and Mr. Piranha, need to prove to the world that they aren’t the bad guys. So, they set out on missions to fight against evil in order to change people’s minds.
We love the illustrations as they are great for readers that are transitioning from picture to chapter books. Plus, the illustrations give the books a comic strip feel.
The stereotypes are funny, and the characters are comical. All-in-all this is a hilarious book series that 2nd graders will love.
2. Magic Tree House Boxed Set
Great adventure stories that are action packed!
This is a time travel book series about characters Jack and Annie who discover a magic treehouse. This magical treehouse transports them back in time, where they encounter amazing adventures.
With over 30 books in the series, 2nd grade readers will be entertained for hours on end!
The books have plots that are easy to follow, and the text is in keeping with 2nd grade reading level.
3. The BFG
The Big Friendly Giant is a Roald Dahl classic and one of the best books for 2nd graders.
It is a story of friendship between a little orphan girl named Sophie and a big but friendly giant. It has an empowering message running throughout as Sophie and the Giant confront the Queen of England about her unfair treatment of giants.
Roald Dahl writes in a magnificent way and is a must-read author for 2nd graders.
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
This award-winning series of books will go down a storm with your 7-8-year-old.
Diary entries, written by Greg the main character, are very fun but also very realistic. Kids will relate to his thoughts and recognize the situations he finds himself in.
The books are written in journal format which is great for 2 graders who might feel daunted by small text in chapter book prose.
This books series is definitely worth a place in the best books for 2 graders!
5. Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants
This book about a crime fighting canine is one of the best books for 2nd graders because it combines heroes, adventure and humor all in one.
Part dog – part human, its Dog Man’s job to save the world from the formidable cat villain, Petey the Cat.
It’s another book that plays on animal stereotypes in a funny light-hearted way. It will appeal to a 7-8- year-olds sense of humor perfectly.
6. The Adventures of Captain Underpants
Written by Dav Pikley, who is also the author of Dog Man, our previous recommendation. The Adventures of Captain Underpants is a book perfect for 2nd grade kids.
The storyline starts with Harold and George, two boys that love writing comics. Soon, their own school principal finds himself staring as one of their characters. Welcome Captain Underpants!
Not too heavy on the reading and illustrations that will help with comprehension. This book might even inspire your 2nd graders to write some comics of their own.
Judy Bloom, the author of Superfudge has captured a common problem within young families and turned it into one of the best books for 2nd graders.
The book concentrates on the issue of sibling jealousy. It explores how ‘Fudge’ reacts to his new baby sister. From misbehaving to plotting ways to get rid of her. Bloom writes in a way that addresses the frequent issue but also keeps the books incredibly light-hearted.
It’s a great book for children who have recently become a big brother or sister. They can explore and address their own feelings in a relaxed and informal way.
8. Maniac Magee
Orphaned as a young boy Jeffry Magee has spent 8 years being raised by his unloving aunt and uncle.
One day, he decides enough is enough. He runs away and finds himself in a town with problems of its own.
The town is divided, and nobody gets along. But thanks to Magee the townspeople begin to break down their divides.
It is a story that highlights problems in society such as, racial divides and draws them to the reader’s attention.
For this reason, we believe Maniac Magee is worthy of a place in our best books for second graders.
9. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Written by Julie Andrews, the lady who starred as Mary Poppins in the first film, this is a magical story.
It is about a Whangdoodle, a magical creature which is surrounded by myth and legend. The Potter siblings go in search of the illusive creature to try and prove its existence.
With a whole hoard of imaginative creatures this book gives hope to readers that creatures like the Loch Ness Monster or the Abominable Snowman really do exist.
10. The Magic Bojabi Tree
This is a fable, stars a greedy python who is guarding a fruit tree and refusing to share the fruits.
The other animals come by to kindly ask the python for some fruit, but he refuses on the grounds the animals do not know the name of the tree. One by one, they all go to ask the wise lion for the name of the tree. They all fail to remember, apart from the slowest, smallest animal the turtle.
It’s a fable that teaches children about sharing and valuing everyone for the different abilities they have.
11. Geronimo Stilton and the Kingdom of Fantasy #1
One of the best books for 2nd graders within the fantasy genre. The story is told by Geronimo the mouse and it is about how he discovered ‘The Kingdom of Fantasy’ and had to save the queen of the fairies.
Your 7-8-year-old will be introduced to fantasy creatures such as, pixies, dragons, and witches. And, will become immersed in another world.
Suitable for children with grade 2 reading level, meaning your kids can enjoy reading the story independently.
12. The Complete Calvin and Hobbes
This is a comic strip book that displays text in a different layout to what 2nd graders might usually be exposed to. As a result, it is a great choice for readers that are exploring genres for the first time.
Reading a different genre of text is also important for 2nd graders as they should be allowed to experience a wide variety in order to decide which types of books they want to read for pleasure.
The collections of comics strips that make up this book have all been published in newspapers year-gone-by.
13. Wings of Fire Boxset, Books 1-5
Waring dragon tribes, an ancient prophecy, and 5 special dragons that are destined to end the bloodshed.
With an ancient prophecy detailing how the 5 dragons will save the dragon world, it seems black and white. But these dragons like doing things their own way.
This is a series of books which will provide second grade students with plenty of reading material to work their way through.
14. Killer Koalas from Outer Space and Lots of Other Very Bad Stuff that Will Make Your Brain Explode!
A best book for 2nd graders if they are looking for a book to make them laugh out loud.
Full wild stories that will excite even the most reluctant of readers. The books are packed with terribly ridiculous characters. From rocket thieving ants, zombie kittens, and killer koalas from outer space.
It’s a silly story that will make your 2nd graders explode with laughter.
15. Fig Pudding
Fig Pudding is a warm cozy story to share about families. It follows the life of a family across a year. Starting at Christmas and ending the following Christmas. It is a nice story to share with kids around Christmas time but also a good year-round book too.
It has funny stories about family life and 2nd graders will love the familiarity of it.
It is great for independent readers as the text is manageable but also adds enough challenge to keep your 2nd graders learning and developing as they read.
At age 7-8 years old and 2nd grade is an important time for our young readers. It is a time where they are starting to decide which type of books they enjoy reading the most. We must therefore give them the options to explore different genres and styles of writing.
This list of the 15 best books for 2nd graders covers a variety of genres and includes books where the text is presented in different styles. Some books are written in the character voice. Others are narrated by the writer. We have included books that take readers to fantasy worlds and books that are based in reality.
Now it is time for your 2nd graders to choose. Get them down to the library, the local bookstore or their classroom bookshelf. And, keep your eyes peeled for some of these best books for 2nd graders!